Deputy Talking and holding up bike chain (two split)

Morning Joe/Twitter

‘That’s a bike lock’: NYPD comes under fire after claiming chains used by Columbia pro-Palestine protesters are ‘what professionals bring’

To say some are skeptical is an understatement.


Katherine Huggins


Posted on May 2, 2024

The New York Police Department’s (NYPD) claim that industrial-grade chains were used by pro-Palestine protesters to barricade buildings is being met with doubt and full-throttle mockery online.

The pushback began following an interview with Deputy Commissioner Tarik Sheppard, who was seen holding up a set of chains and a bike lock that the police encountered while clearing a building taken over by protesters.

“This is not what students bring to school, okay? This is what professionals bring to campuses and universities,” Sheppard said. “These are heavy, industrial chains that were locked with bike locks. And this is what we encountered on every door inside of Hamilton Hall.”

Sheppard said the team had to cut through those chains and get through doors that had been “barricaded with refrigerators, vending machines, chairs, you name it.”

“But our guys would not be stopped, they did a fantastic job of entering into that location and taking people into custody without incident last night,” he added. “They took about 40 or 50 people into custody inside the lobby of Hamilton Hall last night.”

But Shepard’s comments drew immediate pushback, with some social media users noting that the chain appears to be the same that Columbia University’s Public Safety department itself sells to students as part of their “Crime Prevention Discount Bike, Locker and Laptop Lock Program.”

“This is an exceedingly common bicycle lock,” commented one X user. “It’s a type Columbia public safety has promoted to its students. How did this claim get all the way onto tv?”

“I have that bicycle chain. For my bike. Normal in NYC,” responded someone else.

“That’s a bike lock,” quipped a Democratic New York state assembly member representing parts of Brooklyn.

Noted someone else: “This appears to be the recommended chain bike lock from Wirecutter?”

Another person said Shepard’s comments about the chain and lock show that the NYPD is “trying to further push the ‘outside agitator’ narrative at Columbia.”

“This is a Kryptonite bike chain, similar to what you can see here (pointed out in a yet unpublished community note),” concluded Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins. “Do only vaguely defined ‘professionals’ use bike chains?”

But when facing pushback from a reporter showing a similar—or possibly same—bike chain available for sale, Shepard doubled down by saying it is different.

“Look at this, this is an industrial chain,” he countered.

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*First Published: May 2, 2024, 7:30 am CDT